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Durban - An inspection of the accident scene will take place on Tuesday to clarify for the court which barrier line a taxi allegedly crossed before colliding with two-time Olympic mountain bike cyclist Burry Stander, who had been riding at a high speed, the Port Shepstone Magistrate’s Court heard on Monday.
Stander was killed almost instantly in the January 3 collision at Shelly Beach on the South Coast.
Taxi driver Njabulo Nyawose has pleaded not guilty to culpable homicide before magistrate Charmaine Barnard.
State witness Andries Fourie told the court that he had been driving along Marine Drive in the direction of Margate when traffic came to a standstill. When he saw Stander, who was cycling towards Port Shepstone, he hooted in greeting.
The cyclist lifted his fingers slightly to greet him back, but he did not look up, he said.
“I knew of him, but did not know him personally.”
Fourie said his vehicle and the taxi had been separated by one car when, about five seconds after seeing Stander, he heard a bang.
He looked in his mirror and saw Stander sliding underneath the taxi.
Fourie said he stopped and ran to the scene, where he and an “old lady” removed the bicycle that was wrapped around Stander.
“I thought right away that he was dead because he had injuries on his head and his helmet was 10m away,” he told the court as families of both Stander and Nyawose listened from the public gallery.
Fourie said he saw Nyawose about 15m away with two men on Stott Street.
When asked by Nyawose’s attorney, Xolile Ntshulana, how fast Stander had been travelling, he said he could not say exactly because a bicycle and car’s speed were assessed differently.
“I did not see the accident happen, I saw him (Stander) sliding down,” he said.
Traffic officer Mbongeni Musa testified that when he got to the scene he saw paramedics assisting Stander, lying face up on the barrier line.
Musa said he conducted a breathalyser test on Nyawose and his reading had come up as zero. Nyawose had a public driving permit and was authorised to drive the taxi, which was empty, he said.
“The taxi had marks on the passenger side and the window to that door was damaged. The (glass pieces) were over the seat and the side mirror on that side was missing,” he said.
Musa said Nyawose had been crying and told him that he had been travelling towards Margate and had decided to turn into Stott Street (from Marine Drive).
“He said that he had first looked to see if there were any vehicles and turned. Once he had completed his turn, he said that a bicycle had come at high speed.” He said he tried to stop, Musa said.
“He said that he had been assaulted by white males, but did not know what they had been carrying,” Musa said.
He was placed in a traffic vehicle for his own safety.
When prosecutor Charistelle Rossouw asked him about the barrier line that Nyawose had crossed, he said no one was allowed to go over it, unless turning into a residential driveway. But other vehicles also turned into Stott Street because there was no sign indicating that people could not turn.
Also testifying on Monday was Warrant Officer Hendrick Ludick of the Port Shepstone K9 Unit who also carried out police inspections of vehicles that have been involved in accidents. The taxi had been roadworthy and in good working condition, he said.
“In my opinion, impact was on the bumper first and moved to the back.”
Ludick said he had also examined the bicycle and found it had been in good condition before the accident. Narrow-wheel racing bicycles could travel at speeds as high as 60km/h, he said.